Updated: Feb 6, 2020
By Joe Johnson
Ken Mauldin, who for two decades has served as district attorney for Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties announced Wednesday that he was resigning at the end of this month.
Mauldin, elected district attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit in 2000, had previously announced that he planned to retire from his position and would not seek a sixth term in the November elections.
In announcing his plans Wednesday, Mauldin made public his resignation letter to Gov. Brian Kemp:
“Dear Governor Kemp:
For going on twenty years I have been entrusted by the people of Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties to serve as their elected District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit. In all aspects, it has been an honor and a privilege. I have enjoyed the work; I have enjoyed the people; and most of all, I have enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference. I will be forever grateful to the people who have worked with me in this office during this time. Their selfless dedication to the state's business has been immeasurable. Without them, I could not have done this job.
“I write this letter to inform you that effective February 29, 2020 I will step down as District Attorney of this circuit. As you may know, my current term of office as District Attorney expires December 31, 2020.
“I am providing notification of my decision now so that there is a sufficient period of time for my successor in office to be appointed in time for there to be an election this year. I urge you to do so promptly.”
It is unclear how Mauldin’s decision will affect the current DA’s race, which presently has Mauldin’s top lieutenant, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Brian Patterson pitted against Deborah Gonzalez, a former state representative and entertainment attorney.
Patterson and Gonzalez, like Mauldin, are Democrats. According to Mauldin, the Republican governor can appoint anyone who applies to be his successor.
With no Republicans currently in the race, the winner of the Democratic May 19 primary would likely become the judicial circuit's new DA. But Kemp's choice of the person to fill out the remainder of Mauldin's term coud potentially be a game changer.
In an interview with Classic City News Wednesday, Mauldin said there were no political considerations in his decision to resign more than 10 months before his term expires.
He said that when he announced in July his decision to not seek reelection, he did not realize the “strong pull” he would feel when pondering life after his time as district attorney.
Noting that he had a daughter in college and two sons in high school, Mauldin said, ”I realized that I had to focus on what is best for me.
Mauldin has been practicing law for almost 40 years, 30 years of which as an elected official. Prior to being elected district attorney, Mauldin served as solicitor general for Athens-Clarke County.
“I really need to recharge my batteries to decide on what the next chapter of my life will be, but that couldn’t happen without first stepping down,” Mauldin said.